The Medinas & Landscape of Morocco

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Casablanca

This time around I traveled with the photography group, DPM.  Digital Photo Mentor. DPM is a Canadian outfit run buy 2 professional photographers. I researched quite a bit before I signed up with them and they hit the nail on the head!

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Casablanca

Daniel, as we were introduced to him, was our pro, but it wasn’t too long before Daniel morphed into Danny!

Danny’s photographic skills are innate, his ability to teach and explain were simplistic, and his patience wears long  …  I am a self taught photographer and I shoot strictly manual, I know what I know and I am very comfortable with it, I like to be the one in control … Well, Danny opened my eyes to the beauty of the digital camera.

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Casablanca

A Medina is an old fortified city within a city, typically walled with many narrow and maze-like streets

‘The Medina’s of Morocco have a way of drawing in visitors to explore the labyrinth of alleys, shops, craftsmen, and life itself. While those dark streets, shady characters , and the haggling shopkeepers can be daunting, follow some simple rules and you’ll have a wonderful time in Morocco’s souks and Medina’s.’

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Above is a perfect example of the long and narrow walkways, unfortunately it allows for little natural light. Most times I was shooting with a film speed, or ISO, of 4000 and above, and at times I found it hard to focus in on my subject.  With my new found knowledge I was able to save time fiddling in the dark…

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Chefchaouen

In the upper right corner you can see the wall that surrounds the old city of Chefchaouen.

Chefchaouen is called the Blue City, and here is why:

‘The color blue is representative of the sky according to Jewish belief. Jewish communities therefore paint things blue and use blue-colored fabrics, especially for prayer mats.

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People believe that the Jewish refugees spread the blue fever to the entire ‘Medina’ in 1930. The practice of painting walls blue was introduced by the Jews to stick to their religious practices. However, older residents say that the majority of the buildings within the Medina used to be white until fairly recently. They stress that only the Jewish part of the Medina used to be painted blue.’  wiki

So there you have it …

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This is a view from my hotel room, you can see the Medina wall on the left hand side.

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‘The second-largest city in Morocco sits in a valley between the Rif and the Middle Atlas Mountains. Whether you’re on a rooftop or a surrounding hillside, the view of minarets among a sea of satellite dishes, more than 13,000 white tombs in the Jewish quarter, and the open, Paris-influenced streets of the Ville Nouvelle illustrate how the passing of time has made its mark on Fez without diminishing its medieval heart.’  Bloomberg

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Fez

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 the white Jewish tombs

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Fez, Morocco from the roof top where they sell the flying carpets…  This shot has a clear view of the Medina wall that surrounds the old city of Fez.

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‘Fez is the medieval capital of Morocco founded by Idris I in 789, and a great city of high Islamic civilization. Fez has the best-preserved old city in the Arab world, the sprawling, labyrinthine Medina of Fes el-Bali, which is incidentally also the world’s largest car-free urban zone and home to the worlds oldest university.  Fez is considered the religious, cultural, and handicraft center of Morocco.’   wiki

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You can see the Medina wall top and center in the above image. You can also see hundreds of satellite dishes …   Of all the cities and Medina’s we visited, Fez was my favorite. I have much more to show and tell you about Fez, but they warrant their own post.

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‘Much of Morocco’s landscape is mountainous with slopes that gradually transition into plateaus and valleys. The Atlas mountains dominate the central part of the country, while the Rif mountains make up the northern edge.

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Jebel Toubkal is the highest point of Morocco at 13,664 ft (4,165 m), and is also the highest peak of the Atlas mountains.

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The southeastern region of the country is blanketed by the Sahara Desert, the world’s third largest desert at over 3,600,000 square miles (9,400,000 sq. km).’  wiki More on the Sahara later …

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Marrakesh.

Yes, I realize that I bit off more than I can chew. I cannot sum up these fascinating cities in my own words, I had to plagiarize…

‘Marrakech marches to its own beat. The former imperial capital is as manic as Mardi Gras and as hip as Hollywood. Throw yourself in at the deep end by exploring the twisting alleyways of the medieval medina.  From glassware to brassware, silverware to lacquerware, the souks (markets) brim with a bewildering array of handicrafts – but you’ll need to haggle hard. Apothecaries tout herbal remedies and heap coloured spices into perfectly shaped pyramids while, in the main square of Djemaa El Fna, the pyramids are comprised of humans.’  wiki

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The colorful markets in Marrakesh.

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These stands are put up each day around 3pm, this city comes to life in the evening and into the night.  Each morning the square is hosed off, cleaned and ready for the next show.  I don’t know how they do it.

As you will see, the Moroccans are very hard workers …

 

9 thoughts on “The Medinas & Landscape of Morocco

  1. Wow!! Michelle these are amazing! So many intriguing, interesting and intricate shots.
    Such a beautiful place. Makes me want to visit!!

  2. The photos are fabulous, colorful and inviting. The history lesson attached is most interesting. You get better and better-if that is possible. Loved especially all the blue Jewish walls and alleyways. Cant wait for more of your exiting beautiful pics. XXOO

  3. Lots of pics and things to love here. The narrow walking paths are historically significant and invite tales of magic and mysteries. Blue happens to be my favorite color so I loved the blue walls, very calming, very pretty. In Key West, home owners are “supposed” to paint the ceilings of the overhangs blue for good luck (and also to keep the bugs away). Good job, Michelle.

  4. Really great shots, Michelle. You really showed Morocco. I didn’t know you have a blog, and I’ll have to explore more. I just signed up for your newsletter.

  5. I love the colorful, vibrant shops, but I also love the calm and cool, dark alleyways. You captured both well.

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